Whittier Area Genealogical Society
Whittier Area Genealogical Society

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May 24, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
June 2017
WAGS Program Director, Roger Mount gave an insightful presentation about the use of three retouching programs to assist you in learning basic tools to improve your photos. He suggested saving your most important photos as TIF since this file type does not compress pixels. However, realize that TIF does create very large file size.   You can download for free http://www.irfanview.com/ , https://www.getpaint.net/  or https://www.gimp.org/ . And they all offer tutorial videos.  I have never used any of these programs but I tried paint.net on a photo of my grandparents Leonard and Violet Johns from the 1940’s. This photo was blurry and way too light.
Paint.net was simple to download and to use.  I remembered to work on a copy and NOT the original as Roger emphasized.  After just 20 minutes of making adjustments, I made the photo much clearer to view. It still needs work but I got a good start.
Our afternoon program, brought us Jane Neff Rollins. She told us about the usefulness of Labor Union Documents for Genealogical Research. She suggested looking for documents that list your ancestor’s occupations. If they were, just as examples, Tailors, Musicians, Railroad Workers, Auto Workers, Mine Workers, Cigar Makers or Blacksmiths, there could be ledgers, local meeting minutes, membership cards and newsletters. These resources can give unique details about your ancestor’s lives. Also, perhaps photos from meetings or newsletters.  Plus these newsletters mention members who are past due on dues, where members have relocated after retirement and even obituaries of union members
You are going to have to dig deep to find these resouces with key word searches of  the “Name of Union + Location”  and try  https://dp.la/ , https://books.google.com/  and https://books.familysearch.org/
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
April 18, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
May 2017
I hope you all enjoyed my presentation on the genealogy website www.MyHeritage.com.  It has over 80 million users that have created over 2.4 billion tree profiles on 35 million family trees including those from www.Geni.com .  You can download their Family Tree Builder software to create your own tree from scratch and then save and update your work on their site. Or upload a tree of less than 250 people from a GEDCOM for free.  You are able to purchase three different subscriptions levels to use their 7 billion historical records from all over the world.  There is an APP for Android and IOS that you can download to your mobile device that will automatically sync with your online tree. Also, consider inviting other family members to view, update, and add records, photos, and family stories to your tree. You can control this tree as the administrator and are notified of all changes.
However, if you have a SCGS membership, they offer the Library edition to research 98% of the databases as a remote access benefit.  They have some unique collections like the Danish National Archives to index Census and Parish records from 1646 to 1930 (a total of around 120 million records). The Pedigree Map is a fun tool to plot family events like birth, marriage and death on a world map. This can help you see migration patterns, where families connected and note geographic similarities.  Plus, clean up place names on a Location Standardization Function.  The Tree Consistency Checker tool helps you find illogical events in your tree like a woman dying at 150 years old or having a child at age 85 years old.
Lastly, they now offer an autosomal DNA test to take and uncover your ethnic origins and connect with cousins.  And for now you may upload for free your raw DNA results from www.Ancestry.com, www.23andMe.com and www.FamilyTreeDNA.com to their site. If you want to learn more I would suggest watching the four free webinars on www.LegacyFamiliyTree.com.
Our afternoon speaker was Erin Fletcher Singley, the digital curator of the local history collection at the Whittier Public Library. She demonstrated the online resources of Whittier newspapers from 1888 to the present at http://www.cityofwhittier.org/depts/lhr/about/newspaper.asp .  City and Street Directories from 1903 and 1911 are digitized and searchable online. Whittier Maps abound at http://www.cityofwhittier.org/depts/lhr/about/maps.asp.  There are over 12 linear feet of vertical files of newspaper clippings organized by subject.  Plus, for fun there are over 200 matchbook covers from local Whittier businesses to get a view back in time.
She looked up member’s home addresses to see details about their homes over time in the newspapers. So we saw when homes were bought and sold, who attended a bridal shower, and who graduated high school.  These details can give great insight to your family since the newspaper was the social media of the day.
If you have family that has lived in Whittier for a long time, I would suggest taking some time to view these online resources. Or take the time to visit the library in person and see what Erin can help you find.  She looks forward to meeting you!
March 21, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
April 2017
At the March meeting we had two captivating and useful presentations. The morning session by our Past President Rick Frohling, illustrated the need to find and use available State Census forms. Www.Google.com  and www.FamilySearch.org  are your best sources to locate where they are online, at a university, or a library.  Rick told us that they could be designed to collect specific data, such tallies of school-age children and potential school populations to predict needs for teachers and facilities or age of males for potential militia service. Also, they can be a good bridge for the missing 1890 Federal Census. Rick showed us many examples of the wide and varied questions that were asked, many different than the Decennial Federal Censuses:
1865 Minnesota: “Soldier in service on June 1, 1865”- A lead to check for Military and Pension records
1895 Wisconsin: “Nativity” (United States / Germany / Great Britain / Ireland / France / British America / Scandinavia / Holland / All other Countries) - A lead to country of origin
1925 New York State Census: “Number of Years in the US / Citizen or Alien / If Naturalized When and Where” – A lead to locate the courthouse where these papers were filed and executed
1925 Iowa State Census: “Full Maiden Name of Mother / Place of Birth / Age at last birthday” 
1935 Rhode Island State Census: “Ever had Measles / Scarlet Fever / Diphtheria / Schick Test“
1945 Florida State Census: “Degree of Education” A lead to check for yearbooks and/or school records
Even if the State Census is just a head of household like Mississippi in 1845 or Alabama in 1855, it helps put your ancestor in a time and place between the Census years. And you can analyze who were the friends, associates and neighbors of your ancestors to learn about their FAN Club.
Our afternoon session, we had representatives from the Association of Professional Genealogists, Southern California Chapter come speak to us about when, how and why to hire a professional researcher.  WAGS welcomed Jean Wilcox Hibben and Barbara Randall who discussed utilizing the services of genealogy professionals listed on https://www.apgen.org/. They said that you should always obtain a written agreement for the work to be performed and the compensation. A retainer is suggested to protect both parties.  Be prepared to provide ALL of your research, so work is not duplicated. Ask for references to see if the researcher can provide what you are expecting. APG has over 2,800 members worldwide to choose from, so if you have hit a brick wall consider having a professional to help break it down. Or if you are contemplating becoming a professional yourself researcher consider joining APG to improve your skills, learn advanced instructions and expand professional contacts.
Cyndy Richardson talked about using https://new.genlighten.com/ to find the right researcher for your project by locality, specialty, or repository. The background, reviews, references of the all the professional researchers are all in one place to do basic document lookups to large-scale ancestral lineage studies.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
February 21, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
March 2017
Maps, Maps and more Maps, our speaker Larry Naukam of the Rochester Genealogy Society   http://nyrgs.org/index.php gave us hundreds of resources for our ancestral locations, then and now.
I hope you put these suggestions to good use. I know I thought about my Cornish Grandmother Violet Odgers Johns who arrived by herself at Ellis Island on October 31st, 1915 aboard the S. S. New York. She had married Leonard Johns in June 10th 1913; however, he had to get back to New Mexico to earn money to send for her to come to America. So just four days later, on June 14th, 1913, he sailed on the S.S. St. Paul to New York. So she had to wait over two years to see her husband again.   Upon arrival she needed the assistance of the Travelers’ Aid Society as listed on her passenger arrival record, to go by railroad from New York City to Mogollon, New Mexico. I used the Library of Congress’ map collection https://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/ to view railroad route maps. This is a wonderful resource that you need to explore.  It showed she likely went from New York to Chicago to St. Louis to Dallas to El Paso to Albuquerque to Mogollon. This took weeks for a young girl from a tiny English village to travel across the US to a reach a tiny mining community in the mountains of the Southwest United States.  
Did you ancestor fight at the battle of Antietam or many other battles of the Civil War? At https://www.loc.gov/item/map05000006/ it has topographical relief maps from September 1st to 14th, 1862 with a daily account of the Antietam conflict. It shows where the Union and Confederate regiment forces fought and the Generals who commanded them. So dig out those pension files and service records to locate your ancestor’s military activity.
At www.Ancestry.com it has a large collection from 1860-1918 of county land ownership atlases that list property owners’ names. They also indicate township and county boundaries and can include photos of county officers, landholders, and some buildings and homes. This can show you neighbors and family members who live next door or perhaps across the river.  This could give you a clue to the name of the girl that your young male ancestor married a few farms away. The 1869 Franklinville, Cattaraugus, New York map shows my ancestor as listed as J.T. Boice Est. since he had just died and his property was in probate.
Probably one of the biggest map collections online are at http://www.davidrumsey.com/ Have you used Fire Insurance maps? They have Halifax, Nova Scotia maps that show who owned many buildings and where every cemetery, church, and park is located in 1878.  For 1872, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania maps show all the land owners. There are over 100 maps for Providence, Rhode Island and over 700 maps of San Francisco, California from 1851 to 1948.
Lastly, https://glorecords.blm.gov/default.aspx the Bureau of Land Management should be searched to associate an individual (Patentee, Assignee, Warrantee, Widow, or Heir) with a specific location (Legal Land Description) and time (Issue Date). They have a variety of Land Patents, including Cash Entry, Homestead and Military Warrant patents. So if you think your ancestor male or female had  Homestead land, this is where to check and then write for the complete file.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President
January 22, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
February 2017
WAGS has many interesting and unique presentations scheduled for 2017. I hope all of you plan to attend every meeting to listen and learn. By the time you read this our seminar with Dr. Michael Lacopo will be over and I am sure it will have been a success. I am so proud of all the WAGS members who put in so much volunteer effort each year to make our annual seminar a success. If you enjoyed the 2017 seminar, help plan the 35th in 2018, ask any board member how to become a welcome part of the team.
WAGS welcomed 2017 with two presentations by Barbara Randall. In the morning she demonstrated how to use the www.Archives.gov website more effectively.  She said that they are trying to make the site more user friendly for genealogists. We must think like an archivist on how items would be categorized and always note the National Archives Identifier number. She showed us that many of the National Archives resources have already by digitized and put online by www.Ancestry.com, www.FamilySearch.org and www.Fold3.com. Explore the entire website since resources, information and links abound!
Just poking around the website, I found Identifier # 301979 that has a list of “Rough Riders” that were wounded or killed at the battle of San Juan Hill in 1898. How about Camp Nelson in Kentucky, was your Civil War soldier stationed there?  Identifier # 279423 has the Records of Death and Internment that provides the decedent's name, rank, unit, cause and date of death, and burial location. For Native American, there is Identifier # 12563852 for Marriages of the Crow Nation 1896-1947. Did you have an ancestor that was incarcerated in Leavenworth, Kansas Prison? Then his inmate file could be online with a photo.  There is also the World War II Dead and Missing from Army and Army Air Forces located at https://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww2/navy-casualties
In the afternoon, we learned about Transported! Convict Records. Barbara’s ancestor was convicted of horse theft and transported to Australia for life! She was able to locate many records about his trial, voyage and his new life with a new wife. These convicts were a labor source for this new British colony. Australia’s State and Territories archives have resources to search, like for Queensland there is http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/family-history/convicts. If you are searching for a lost Irish ancestor try, http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/austlinks.htm, there we can learn about John Rogers of County Antrim who was 31, a soldier under Lord Cornwallis in the US Revolution, who was sentenced in 1783 to life in Australia for Highway Robbery. If you find your convict the make sure you search the digitized newspaper site http://trove.nla.gov.au/ I was able to find an obituary in 1915 for my ancestor Mary Jones Johns in Chewton, Victoria that says she ”Crossed the Bar”.
 So keep that mind if you have British, Scottish or Irish ancestors who just disappear, perhaps they went to Australia, maybe not by their choice.  
Christine Cohen
WAGS President

December 18, 2016 By: Christine Cohen
January 2017
I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! WAGS members’ were lucky to experience good food, great friends and interesting stories at our December Potluck and Show and Tell meeting.  It is that time of year to make resolutions and make them a reality. So in our genealogy pursuit that means breaking down that brick wall!
Have you tried using Wiki’s? They offer information on how to find, use, and analyze records of genealogical value. Their content is variously targeted to beginners, intermediate researchers and experts. The first website I always check when I encounter a new ancestor and a new location is the Wiki on Family Search at  https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Main_Page . This site is constantly updated by other genealogists just like you with historical facts, online resources, maps, courthouses, local Family History Centers, libraries, and local genealogy societies.  You can also click on the Family Search Genealogy Research Groups on Facebook https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/FamilySearch_Genealogy_Research_Groups_on_Facebook  to get even more help from people researching the exact same towns, counties, and states!
This site lead me to the Cloud County Kansas Genealogy Society at  http://www.cloudgenealogy.com/ for just a small donation, they provided me with an obituary for my ancestor Viola Owen Fick. It gave me her birth date and place, marriage date and place and that they were homesteaders. So now I need to go back to the wiki and search “homesteading” and see what resources there are for Kansas.
Remember the resources are not just for the United States, but for 244 other countries.  So if you are lost in Germany try the wiki resources.  There are “How to" Guides, Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin, German Research Online Tutorials.  Plus a link to http://www.meyersgaz.org/,  one of the best gazetteers for locating that tiny village pre-unification Germany.
I found really interesting articles about why my Cornish ancestors left Cornwall to find a better life in America. These “Cousin Jacks” numbered over 250,000 immigrants.  The collapse of the Cornish mining economy lead Francis Clyma in 1819 to immigrant to Wisconsin and Leonard Johns in 1910 to immigrant to New Mexico.
If you find a resource that is not listed on the website, you can contribute it to the wiki. There is a form that allows you to submit information on any topic without knowing how to edit in the wiki.  Simply type or cut and paste the information onto the form. A volunteer will review the information and then, based on relevance and appropriateness, transcribe it onto the wiki.
Lastly, WAGS has just adopted the Whittier, California wiki page for our Society to keep updated and help others:    https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Whittier,_California  Please take some time to review the site and see how we can improve it. Do you have information to share about Whittier?
Best wishes and Good luck in using the Wiki.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
December 15, 2016 By: Christine Cohen
December 2016
I am sure you all enjoyed the informative and interesting presentations by Butch and Jean Hibben.  There are so many free smart phone apps out there to improve our genealogy research. Did you go home and download www.evernote.com so you can capture a note and it will be available on all your devices, figure out a new way to use www.dropbox.com to save and organize, or how about store memories in https://photos.google.com ?
Butch suggested using either www.camscanner.com or Fast Scanner on Google Play. This holiday season is a good time scan photos or documents that your relative's have in their possession.  These mobile scanner apps make it so easy to preserve family heirlooms and make sure they are not lost or destroyed.
Also, you are able to share all your discoveries easily on all your mobile devices with free databases apps from www.RootsMagic.com and www.LegacyFamilyTree.com 
Jean gave us insight to those wonderful Genealogy shows we all watch on television.  They seem to expect a lot from their genealogy researchers to provide engaging stories on a tight timeline and budget. She worked on http://www.pbs.org/genealogy-roadshow/season-one/ they are available to watch online for free anytime.
WAGS has enjoyed a great year in 2016 starting with our very successful seminar with Thomas MacEntee and we are looking forward to the 2017 seminar with Dr. Michael Lacopo. WAGS had great speakers who taught us about Homesteading, military research on www.Fold3.com, Social networking on Facebook with other genealogists, proving your sources are accurate, using the family trees on www.FamilySearch.org, the Dutch in the New Netherlands, joining Lineage societies, researching your Overseas Ancestors, and breaking down brick walls.
Plus we over 79 members on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/groups/WAGSWhittier /  where I try to post a genealogy tip every day considering joining the group and we upgraded our website  www.WAGSWhittier.org please visit and enjoy!
I wish all of you the Happiest of Holidays and Good luck in the coming year.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President
December 15, 2016 By: Christine Cohen
November 2016
I am sure you all enjoyed the educational presentation by Ted Gostin about his efforts to break down three brick walls.  If you went home and were inspired to use some of the techniques that Ted used and broke down a research problem, please think about sharing it at the WAGS December “Show and Tell” presentation.
I hope all of you are taking advantage of the free webinars that are available almost every day! For the last six years one of the best webinar resources can be found at www.legacyfamilytree.com.  The 2015 WAGS Annual Seminar Speaker Geoff Rasmussen presents “Webinar Wednesday” at 11:00 AM; a free instructional webinar that lasts for 90 minutes. Upcoming topics include “Dating Old Photographs” by Jane Neff Rollins, “Becoming a Genealogy Detective” by Sharon S. Atkins, “From the Heartland - Utilizing Online Resources in Midwest Research” by Luana Darby. If you become a paying member, you are able to view 426 archived webinars, review 1929 pages of instructors’ handouts, and view bonus webinars.
The www.FamilySearch.org website offers free webinars almost every weekday. In November alone, there are 17 sessions, including “Using Digital Libraries for German Family History Research”“Lost in London: Tracing Elusive Ancestry in England's Largest City”, and “Reivers and Relatives: Ancestors along the Anglo-Scottish Border”. Plus they have a database of archived webinars that are free to view anytime. Find these classes by using the wiki and searching for “Webinars”, view each month’s schedule and then just click on the link to the webinar at the scheduled time. These are well worth your time.
How about State Genealogy Societies? The Illinois Genealogy Society has monthly free webinars, check out their website http://www.ilgensoc.org/. In 2016 they presented “Misbegotten Children; Tracing the Family Lines of the Illegitimate” by Peggy Lauritzen, ”Using Social Media to Break through Brick Walls” by Amie Tenant and “Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker: Using Occupational Records” by Amy Johnson Crow. The Wisconsin Genealogy Society website http://wsgs.org/ offers free monthly sessions such as on Nov. 15th “Passenger List Research:  Castle Garden, Ellis Island and other Ports of Entry” by Bob Heck and on Dec. 20th “Eight Common Mistakes That Genealogists Make and How to Avoid Them” by Donald Schnitzler.
Research websites like www.Ancestry.comwww.AmericanAncestors.org, and  www.FindMyPast.com, all provide webinars to view for free at the live showing and then in the archive as a paying member.  I recently watched Lindsay Fulton of NEHGS present “Substitutes for pre-1880 New York Vital Records: Using New York State and Federal Censuses”. It gave me great insight on how to use Federal Mortality Schedules in conjunction with State and Federal Census to locate ancestors.
Lastly, the Southern California Genealogical Society, www.scgsgenealogy.com offers free webinars twice a month on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Register now,  for December 21st at 6:00 PM to hear the WAGS 2017 Annual Seminar Speaker Dr. Michael Lacopo DVM. He will be speaking on “Using Tax Records for Genealogical Problem Solving”. He is a wonderful instructor who will demonstrate how to use resources in a new and innovate way.   
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
December 15, 2016 By: Christine Cohen
October 2016
Our September speaker, Mary Van Orsdol gave a presentation on the Dutch colony of New Netherlands and how to research its inhabitants. This colony is well documented and many resources are in book form or digitized online. Two websites she highly recommended viewing are www.newnetherland.org and www.hollandsociety.com. She gave us an insightful history lesson on how the home nation in the Netherlands did not support the colony and lost it to the British after just sixty years of occupation.
I was especially interested in her discussion from Patronymic to surnames. How challenging it must be to research families when the surname changes every generation and even then, not all descendants seem to want to follow the rules! The essence of our genealogy research is surnames. And if we go far enough back in our research to the 12th or 13th Century surnames were very uncommon, except among nobility or the gentry.
Once interesting website if you are doing Dutch research is http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/nfb/index.php?taal=eng. The Database of Surnames in the Netherlands presents the 300,000 surnames of all persons with the Dutch nationality, which lived in the Netherlands in the year 2007. Also included are about 120,000 family names registered at the census from 1947. Besides frequencies and geographic distribution maps, additional information about the meaning, composition and history can be found for many names. The names are hierarchically interconnected on the basis of spelling, meaning and frequency. I tried my Dutch surname of “Goedbloed” and found that there were only 19 families in one area of present day Netherlands. This narrows the area for me to visit when I am able to go to The Netherlands and say “hello” to my cousins.
If you have want to learn more about the meaning behind your surnames try http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts/ and enter your name to learn country of origin, immigration information, average life expectancy, occupations and Civil War Service records. I tried “Boyce” and learned it meant: Scottish, northern Irish, and English: topographic name for someone who lived by a wood, from Old French bois or wood. Boyce people live to an average of 76, were farmers and 830 served in the Civil War.
How about if you want to just research your surname and find everyone who shares it. Visit the Guild of One Name Studies at www.one-name.org.  Their mission is to collect and analyze data in order to find as much detail as possible on every branch, twig or tiny leaf of a surname. They seek all occurrences, past and present, of a single surname, anywhere in the world. I tried “Combs” and it showed that is it registered and has its own website!
Lastly, surnames and DNA are a hot topic.  If you have tested your Y-DNA at www.FamilyTreeDNA.com they have almost 7,000 surname projects to join with your test results. Projects create opportunities for people to work with others to explore their common genetic heritage. Family Tree DNA encourages customers' participation in projects. Membership is free and voluntary. I have joined the “Cline” Surname to try to help break down my brick wall for my John Anthony Cline of New York. Are his origins British as family lore suggests or are they German? I still don’t know but maybe DNA will assist me. 
Christine Cohen
WAGS President 
December 15, 2016 By: Christine Cohen
September 2016
Did the wonderful presentation on Foreign Research by our August speaker Linda Serna inspire you to go home and review your research? She provided a very detailed handout that showed how many records we want and need can be found right here in America! I know it made me look at my family database and see what I have missed.
For instance, I reviewed the 1830 US Federal Census to see if Francis Clyma had a tick mark in the column as a “Foreigner Not Naturalized”. He did, but when I looked at the 1840 US Federal Census that tick mark was missing. So that will hopefully help me locate his naturalization that should have taken place in the years of 1830-1840. This tick mark is really easy to miss since this column is normally on page 2 of the form. So make sure you scroll all the way over and review all the columns
Linda suggested investigating every resource, so not just the Federal but also the State Census forms. If you happen to have any foreign born ancestors that lived in the state of New York in the early 1900’s, make sure to check the 1925 New York State Census. It asked under the citizenship questions:
  1. Number of years in the United States?
  2. Are you a Citizen or an Alien?
  3. If naturalized When and Where
I found my husband’s great grandfather, Isadore Horowitz, listed as being in the country for 20 years, and obtained citizenship in 1911 at the Richmond, NY Superior Courthouse. I then filled out a form at https://www.uscis.gov/genealogy and requested and obtained his naturalization packet within a few weeks. Plus the packet helped me find him on the passenger lists at http://libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger since traveled under his birth name of Trul Presser.
We often don’t think of our ancestors and traveling for pleasure since it seems to have taken so long to go places. However, www.ancestry.com has U. S. Passport applications for 1795-1925. I found my husband’s Great Uncle, Leo Baumann; he applied for a passport in 1916 to visit his brother in Canada. It gives his birth date and place; his year of immigration and there is a photo of him too.
Lastly, she mentioned familiarizing yourself with foreign phrases and suggested using Google Translate to help decipher words. This assisting me in using the “Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New York” database found on www.americanancestors.org to find the baptism details for “Kinders” or Children, the “Ouders” or Parents and the “Getuygen” or Witnesses in 1672. The child is Jan, his parents are Frans and Lysbeth Jans Goedtbloedt and the witness is Lysbeth Wessels.
Did Linda’s presentation guide you to new areas of research? Did you break through a brick wall? Share it with WAGS by writing a paragraph or two and have Marilyn put it in the newsletter, maybe it can assist other genealogists!
Christine Cohen
WAGS President